How dare you say my place is not in Israel

Guy Spigelman wrote a blog in Ha’aretz from the heart today. He said “Something broke on the morning of March 18, something deep. For the first time since moving to Israel 21 years ago, I thought perhaps my place is not here any more.”

I’ve never felt that way, although I did get stuck in the UK for quite a while. When I made Aliyah forty years ago and when I returned to live here two years ago, I knew that there was a hell of a lot wrong with this country.

Make no mistake. I love living here. It is the only place that I feel totally at home. I love the people, the land, the culture, the Middle East, the sun. And, of course, I’m enormously frustrated with many things, not least the racism and arrogance of Bibi and his cronies.

But I’m also heartily sick of spoiled Tel Aviv/Herzliya/Ra’anana Anglos who think they can change things by talking to themselves, or running away if they get fed up. I have long believed that, instead of endless internal debates and left-wing rallies, the peace movements, V-15, the Zionist Camp, etc. need to reach out beyond their safe, middle-class Ashkenazi heartlands to Machane Yehuda, to the settlements, to the Israel street in Shderot and Dimona, in Hadera, Afula and Bet Shean, to Arab towns and villages.

And now they are starting to realise, that’s what needs to happen during the next four years.

So what is my reaction to the Bibi win, to his accusations that we “weren’t trying to replace a prime minister by democratic means, but rather trying to “overthrow” him, to commit a coup”; to the calumny that the party I supported is “not really the Zionist Union, but rather the “anti-Zionist Union,” and that our candidates may as well be members of Hamas.

It is to redouble my efforts to bring change to our beautiful, Jewish homeland, whilst enjoying everything that is good about it, knowing that we are privileged to belong to the generation that lives in here.

And I’ll be damned if I’m going to let Netanyahu and his bully boys tell me that my place is not here any more.

About the Author
Baruch Velleman is a management accountant, social worker, educator, Masorti Jew, peace activist, and works for the Forum of Israeli Peace NGOs